English Language & Literature

  • A Level
  • Edexcel
  • Entry requirements: GCSE Grade 6 in English
  • Goes well with: History, Politics, Sociology, Psychology, Philosophy and Ethics, Media Studies, Law, Drama, Art and most other subjects.

This two year course will provide students with the opportunity to study the best of English Literature and English Language. It is a creative and challenging course which provides a natural progression from study at GCSE Level and leads students in to the independent, high level analysis and written work which will be required of them in Further Education and in the workplace.

As well as studying a range of English Literature texts including prose, drama and poetry, students will analyse an anthology of shorter non-fiction texts taken from a diverse range of time periods and contexts. Writing is a key aspect of this A-Level: students will develop their non-fiction and fiction writing skills, creating, editing and developing a wide range of texts across the two year course.

Overview of study

In year one, students will study:

  • An anthology of 20 non-fiction texts, taken from a wide range of time periods and social contexts. Students will analyse and compare the anthology texts with unseen non-fiction texts.

  • A novel, either The Great Gatsby by F .Scott Fitzgerald or Atonement by Ian McEwan, studying the ways narratives are shaped by writers.

  • A selection of poems, Rapture by Carol Ann Duffy, exploring how writers use language to convey their ideas.

  • Students will start work on an independent study (coursework) of two texts: one non-fiction text (from a prescribed list) written after the year 2000, the other a text of their choice.

  • For this coursework students will also produce a piece of non-fiction writing of their choice.

In year two, students will study:

  • Students will complete the coursework they started in Year 12

  • A drama text, either A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams or Othello by Shakespeare.

  • A range of creative writing and narrative writing techniques, with a view to producing a piece of narrative writing in exam conditions.

  • Revision of poetry, narrative and anthology studied in Year 12.

  • Final exams will be in May/June

Component One: Exploring Non-Fiction and Spoken Text

A 1 hour exam where students compare one anthology text with an unseen non-fiction text.

Component Two: The Language of Poetry and Plays

A 2 hour exam where students explore and analyse the techniques used by writers of the poetry and drama texts they have studied (Rapture by Carol Ann Duffy and Othello by Shakespeare OR A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams)

Component Three: Reading as a Writer, Writing as a Reader

A 2 hour exam where students write an essay exploring narrative techniques in the novel studied, either The Great Gatsby or Atonement. The second section of the exam requires students to write the opening to a narrative and produce a commentary highlighting and explaining their creative decisions.

Component Four: Independent Study - Analysing and Producing Texts

In task 1 students pursue a particular interest and develop their expertise through an analytical comparative essay on one non-fiction set text (selected from a list of twelve) and a second text of their own choosing. At least one text must have been published post-2000.

In task 2 students produce a piece of original non-fiction writing in an appropriate genre.

“I love English Language and Literature because you study a wide variety of texts, from novels to poetry to many different non-fiction texts. I can be independent and can put expression into my work, I especially love the freedom and choice I have when doing my coursework.”